Bart tended his 40th story balcony garden by the book, and he was a religious fanatic about it. He followed written instructions and procedures precisely, step by step, from preparing the ground, to planting and weeding, No matter how hard he worked on the balcony box, though, the passion of his days was the disappointment of his life. Nothing grew for him, until deep into the winter of 2001.
That December Bart looked out his sliding glass door onto a blustery winter day, full of punishing sleet and blowing snow, and saw something growing in his balcony box. Quickly he grabbed a screw driver from his tool box and an overcoat from the closet and ran outside to unscrew the box from the balcony rail. Bart brought it in and spoiled the sprig like it was his only child.
He nurtured it with ultra violet lamps, miracle fertilizer, and enriched soil. He babied it, speaking low and sweetly to it. He even played Beethoven for it. He didnít know what kind of plant it was, but he could care less. The miracle of life, in the form of one little sprout, was finally his.
Responding to Bartís pampering the plant grew straight and long, so Bart bought it a little trellis. It grew stronger, reaching out with tendril-like vines and totally possessing the little ladder. Bart marveled at its wonderful green leaves, and spoke prideful expectations to its healthy little stalk. On Friday he found the first pod hidden in a clump of leaves and was so excited he had to force himself to breath again. On Saturday morning there were pods sprouting all over the plant. Bart was so proud. He was growing a pea plant!
In glad response the plant gave him peas that passeth understanding, more peas than Bart had bags and jars for. Bart kept every pea, and soon his cupboards were full of brimming jars of little green orbs. He could hardly close his freezer for all the zip bags full of peas.
Friends heard about Bartís dilemma because Bart couldnít keep quiet. They offered to take some of the peas. Bart stiffly refused. These were his personal peas and a gift of love. He had waited all his life for personal peas, and he didnít have to share them. Life was heaven, for a while. Bart had peas, peas, so many wonderful peas, piled up in the cupboards above!
Then the pea plant stopped producing. Then it began to turn yellow. Then Bart found it one morning dried up and shriveled. His beloved pea plant had died in Bartís sleep. Bart wept, dug a hole in the balcony box and buried his beloved.
Later in his sorrow Bart remembered the fruit of their love. Yes, Bartís personal peas were all around him; in the cupboards, in the fridge and freezer, and on table tops and chairs and couches all over the apartment. He realized he was surrounded by miracles. It made him dance for joy, then stopped him suddenly. What was he going to do with them all?
Oh, he couldnít eat them, not right now anyway. It was deep winter, so he knew he couldnít plant them, either. He decided to freeze them and make a decision in the spring. It would cost him another freezer, but his personal peas was worth it.
In the spring Bart still wasnít ready. All summer he thought and worried, but just couldnít deal with the frozen peas. In the fall, on September 12, 2002, the Bible told Bart what to do. He made pea soup, several large pots of thick spicy green liquid dotted with ham, and took each pot to fire stations around his apartment. He also took the balcony box containing the remains of his beloved pea plant to the edge of ground zero and dumped all of the potting soil under a soot covered tree. His work was a sacrament. Ladling the soup, replanting his beloved, and offering his personal peas to others was a gift from his soul.
Some of the fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, and peace. Bart personal peas were a fruit that had to be given away to complete the miracle of life given to him that cold winter morning.
ďBlessed are the peace makers, for they shall be called sons of God.Ē Matthew 4:18 (NIV)
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